This is a guest post by Manisha Patel and Stephanie Brobbey
Covid-19 has revealed the extent to which some schools are underfunded and this has
exposed “digital poverty” particularly in schools located in deprived areas. While
schools shifted to online learning following closure, the reality is that many pupils
across the country are simply unable to complete their school work at home.
Despite the Government’s pledge to provide the most disadvantaged pupils with
laptops, there are still thousands of pupils who have yet to receive the devices which
will enable them to continue learning while they are unable to physically attend school.
Although some year groups have now returned to school, it would seem that not all
schools have been able to reopen.
Education is being delivered online and once again, the poorest and most vulnerable
families are being affected. In some cases, children have no access to any devices.
Others are having to wait until a parent returns home from work late at night in order to
complete school work on the only device in the household.
Sadly some cannot even afford WiFi.
There are grave concerns that the attainment gap between those who are disadvantaged and those from more privileged backgrounds will increase exponentially.
We do not want our most vulnerable children to fall behind: not on our watch.
We, as members of a working group at The Conduit, are supporting Addey and Stanhope school in Lewisham and looking for individuals and corporates to donate a total of 150 desktop computers, laptops or tablets (together with chargers if possible) and WiFi
dongles for their pupils.
“We are truly a family at Addeys. We care about each other and look after each other,
no matter where we are.
Right now, in these very difficult times, more families than ever are facing financial
hardship. With parents and carers losing incomes, an increasing number of students
and their families are in need of our support. We are working around the clock to
ensure that they get this, and want to do even more.
While schools remain closed, our teachers have been providing an extensive,
innovative programme of home learning. We have provided many laptops to families
who require them, but we know we will need more. Although the government recently
announced an initiative to provide some resource to disadvantaged students, we
know that the majority in need will be excluded from this.
We urgently need your help to raise funds to make sure that all our students can
continue to learn in these unprecedented times.”
Jake Armstrong (Business and Computing Teacher), Jan Shapiro (Headteacher) and
Michael Scott-MacDonald (Director of Resources) of Addey and Stanhope School.
You can find further details regarding donations, specification for devices and
Thank you for reading!